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Italy records smaller increase in coronavirus cases for second day

Data from the civil protection showed 4,789 new cases on Monday, nearly 700 fewer than on Sunday.

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Operators sanitize each other after service on an ambulance for the transport of COVID-19 patients in Settimo Torinese, Northern Italy, Monday, March 23, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse via AP)

Operators sanitize each other after service on an ambulance for the transport of COVID-19 patients in Settimo Torinese, Northern Italy, Monday, March 23, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse via AP)

Operators sanitize each other after service on an ambulance for the transport of COVID-19 patients in Settimo Torinese, Northern Italy, Monday, March 23, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse via AP)

Italy has recorded a smaller day-to-day increase in new coronavirus cases for the second straight day, officials said, while warning it was too soon to know if the worst is behind the country with the world’s second-biggest caseload.

Data from the civil protection agency on Monday showed 4,789 new cases, nearly 700 fewer than the increase of 5,560 reported on Sunday.

The number of deaths also did not rise by as much. There were just over 600 registered on Monday compared with 651 on Sunday.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Italy has been anxious to see the figures for new cases and deaths go down as its health system struggles under the weight of the world’s largest Covid-19 outbreak outside China.

By Monday, Italy had a total of 59,138 virus cases compared with China’s 81,496.

Health authorities have said it will be a few more days before they know if Italy is at the beginning of a positive trend.

A senior national health official, Silvio Brusaferro, resisted being too optimistic, saying the improvements were due to actions taken at the beginning of the month, not in recent days.

“We need more consecutive results to confirm the trend, to be more certain that we are in a favourable situation,” he said.

“I don’t feel like taking one side or the other to confirm that it is there or not. We can take note of what we see today.”

Soldiers on patrol in Milan
Soldiers on patrol in Milan (Antonio Calanni/AP)

In Milan, the capital of Lombardy, by far Italy’s worst-hit region, local health officials expressed moderate optimistic that day-to-day increases of positive test results and new hospital admissions were smaller, but they expressed renewed worry about the need for additional intensive care beds.

PA